Leonardo's Secret (hook here)
Yesterday, Richie Parsons had returned his very overdue books—"Football Stars of the 1970's" and "Extreme Board Game Review"--to the library.
Today, Richie had to face the consequences.
"Dude, they're gonna make you clean out trash cans!" his best friend Jackson Gomez whispered to him in the cafeteria. Jack's eyes darted left and right.
"I don't know what they'll make me do," Richie said, biting into a ketchup-soaked fry.
"I heard a bully girl hangs out there and she like eats sixth-graders for snack!" Jack said.
"Who told you that?" Richie asked with a gulp. Maybe he could just quit school, escape to South America and grow a beard.
But since he'd spent his allowance on comic books, he really had no choice. After school, Richie walked into the Summerville Public Library with Jack's words echoing in his mind.
Librarian Jessica Goodwin sat at the desk adjusting the spines of old books. She didn't seem to notice Richie as he opened the wooden gate separating the librarians from the children sitting at the tables with faces drooped in their homework. (We're in Richie's POV-"Mrs Goodwin sat" has a better feel. We know she's the librarian and Richie doesn't know her full name probably)
Richie sat down in a chair opposite Mrs. Goodwin. She was now flipping through the books. She ignored him while Richie cleared his throat and fidgeted.
"Please don't just sit there like a rock, young man. Pick up a book and inspect it," Mrs. Goodwin said. She never did take her bifocals (does Richie know what bifocals are?) off the book she was looking through. Richie picked up a book with a green binding ("V is for Victory Garden") which looked as old as the librarian. He opened it and flipped through the pages. The musty smell came back at him in a flurry. At the section on tomatoes a small bookmark fell out and Richie threw it in the trash. So far, so good.
Just then, a girl walked up to the gate. She had long brown hair pulled back into a tight ponytail . Her face was full of freckles and she wore a baseball shirt with half sleeves. "Aunt Jessica, do you want me to wait for him or should I shelve now?" she asked Mrs. Goodwin.
"We'll just be a minute, Shirley Temple. Why don't you get something to read until then?" The librarian went back to work on her stack of books as the girl left.
Mrs. Goodwin's hands worked on the old books as if they were on autopilot. She unfolded the dog-ears, smoothed out the wrinkles and adjusted the spines. More than just a book doctor, she was a book nurse who gave them tender loving care.
"Mrs. Goodwin, what should I do?" Richie asked, after a few moments.
"Fiction is alphabetical by the author's last name, so take this stack." She stood up and pushed the cart over to him. "And remember, if the first letters are the same, use the numbers."
Maybe cleaning trash cans would have been more fun. Richie rolled the cart to section A-C and shelved one by Anderson, and another by Anthony. The third book was written by O'Malley, so he turned the corner and headed to the "O-N" aisle. But the girl with the strange name blocked him, and in fact she sat exactly where he needed to shelve O'Malley.
"I have to shelve this," Richie said.
"Then shelve it," the girl said. She wore jeans that bell-bottomed around her canvas tennis shoes. She had drawn pictures of winged horses on her pants.
"The shelf's behind you."
"I'm reading," she said.
"Well there's a whole library for you to read…" he bent over to read the title of her book, "The Bride of Donnigan."
She seemed to get even more irritated. "It's 'A Bride for Donnigan' and it's none of your business what I read, so get!" (you don't need to describe how they talk-what they say, and your sentence structure should tell us)
"Just move your butt for a second and I can put the stupid book on the shelf!"
"You mean this book?" The girl stood up and snatched the book right out of his hand. Now she'd done it!
"Give it back!" Richie hollered. (again with the description) An unseen librarian shushed him as she put the book up nearly to his face to taunt him.
Richie was set to grab it from her hand when he felt the hardcover of O'Malley smash his nose as the girl punched the back of the book. He yelled and felt the blood drip out of his nostrils. While he bled all over the Summerville Public Library rug, Richie remembered Jack's words: he'd met the library's bully girl alright.
You're telling not showing in key places. At the climax of this scene, you've got long ass sentences when shorter more focused ones will SHOW us what's happening. This needs some of that book nursing.